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noggin14,160 posts since 26 Jun 2001
A Song for Europe 1991 with Terry Wogan one Friday evening.

A very grand affair with a very elaborate studio set up. The stage built that it's overhanging over an orchestra pit. Not quite sure if health and safety would allow this kind of set up nowadays.

Also look out for the very perfectly timed ending to the show at 1:00:20. With a Production credit which would also most likely caused for some very colourful language on talkback during that final sequence.

Eitherway it could very much be argued that A Song for Europe that year was a much better and slicker production than the contest itself from Italy which was an utter shambles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQLEVUUKf64


Wogan used to come from the BBC TV Theatre, which the BBC left in 1991. I wonder if this is one of the last shows to come from there. Would explain the staging. It's very 'TV Theatre Wogan'...

From memory the TV Theatre stage was extended over the existing orchestra pit to make more 'studio floor' space - so that would explain how they could overhang...


From the clip of Samantha running through the corridors into the studio, it does look like the decor of TVC. Indeed signage for TC2 can be seen so it looks like this might possibly be TC3?


I hadn't spotted that bit - definitely TV Centre! Looks like they decided to recreate a 'TV Theatre' feel... Can't have been cheap.
Steve Williams2,627 posts since 1 Aug 2008
I hadn't spotted that bit - definitely TV Centre! Looks like they decided to recreate a 'TV Theatre' feel... Can't have been cheap.


And a quick bit of digging reveals it was filmed in TC1 - presumably one of the very first programmes, if not the first programme, to be made there after its refurbishment, so maybe they decided to really go to town with it.

It always felt like A Song For Europe in this era was a staple of Good Friday, as that one was, but a look in Genome reveals it was actually only on the day two or three times in its entire history.
Whataday9,700 posts since 13 Sep 2001
HTV Wales Wales Today
I hadn't spotted that bit - definitely TV Centre! Looks like they decided to recreate a 'TV Theatre' feel... Can't have been cheap.


I'm sure it wasn't cheap but then many sets have raised staging, generally towards the back of the stage. This looks more unique because it's comes to the front. A bit of star cloth always seems to help increase the sense of scale too.

Wasn't the set for Making Your Mind Up raised above the crowd too? When it was at Maidstone (and when Terry famously announced the wrong winner)?

There was those couple of years in the 90s where it was presented as a Top Of The Pops special, with Nicky Campbell presenting. Notably with a different production team- no mention of Ric Blaxill on the end credits.


And there were a few years where they just rebranded the National Lottery set.
Last edited by Whataday on 29 January 2019 11:54am
Colm (previously Col) 3,473 posts since 6 Jan 2003
Anglia (West) Look East (West sub-opt)
The legacy of Tyne Tees' other music shows, like The Tube and Razzmatazz, could have been a persuasive factor - if they had good hospitality or enjoyed working at the studios previously, artists may have been willing to make the trip.

Also worth bearing in mind, producer Gordon Elsbury had experience on the TOTP production team, and perhaps retained the contacts he made there for future use...
Steve Williams2,627 posts since 1 Aug 2008
I think I remember someone saying that The Roxy struggled to get decent performers that would be willing to make the trek up to Newcastle, when they could easily pop to TV Centre on a much more established show.


I said this, on an article I wrote about Top of the Pops for Offthetelly nearly twenty years ago now, and which is still cited on The Roxy's Wikipedia page (it was also regurgitated at great length in an unauthorised biography of Fearne Cotton I once read in The Works). I'd still stand by it, although of course in those days pop stars would be used to traipsing around the regions because the ITV regions and big local radio stations were still a thing (indeed, I remember in The Roxy book, which used to be in every charity shop in Britain, they mentioned The Christians arriving by helicopter as they'd come straight from filming Hold Tight at Alton Towers).

I know the Tyne Tees production team had huge respect from the artists (as did Gordon Elsbury, as you say), so many artists had a great time there. I remember there used to be a regular column in Look-In interviewing the artists on The Roxy and I recall The Housemartins said they were excited to go because they assumed it was a real old theatre, and were disappointed when they found out it was just a studio. But the difference between The Tube and The Roxy is that on The Tube you'd be able to play a number of songs, and the audience were active record buyers, so it was well worth their time going there, which wasn't the case here. And of course it'd be in the same week as Top of the Pops most of the time.

As I say, The Roxy wasn't so bad, but it turned out nobody really needed a second version of Top of the Pops playing the same records and going after all the same acts, especially not on primetime ITV which certainly then had a very old and conservative audience. Although I watched it regularly for the last few months when I had my own telly and could watch what I liked, for the first few months the rest of the family certainly weren't that bothered, while we still regularly watched Top of the Pops. One of the few times we watched it during 1987 was when Star Trekkin' was at number one and we couldn't wait until Thursday to see the video on Top of the Pops.

I see show two has already been blocked.
Hatton Cross3,116 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Central (West) Midlands Today
"Did you have a good Christmas?"
"Brilliant"

Yes- because it was probably closer to Easter than Christmas when it was recorded!
Always suspected Double Dare was block recorded at TVC, before the full series run of Going Live started in September.

Also, no mention of 'currently appearing in (panto name) at (fleapit theatre)' because it may have been recorded before they were even booked to appear in that years panto.

Next time someone is down at the written archive in Caversham - do the honours and find the recording date!
My user name might look like Hatton Cross, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.
Steve Williams2,627 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Yes- because it was probably closer to Easter than Christmas when it was recorded!
Always suspected Double Dare was block recorded at TVC, before the full series run of Going Live started in September.


Well, it certainly was pre-recorded, but in the early days they did try and make it look like it was live - you note the set is extremely similar to the Going Live set, and Peter Simon would be in the Going Live studio most weeks doing bits and bobs, including linking Saturday Starts Here before it. But later in the run it was pretty much self-contained and the sets looked very different. Of course it would be repeated on its own during the summer holidays.